Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Love New York - Or that's what the T Shirt Says

You'd think I would love New York - it's a loud city with loud people, it has an unparalleled appreciation for fashion and the arts and the city really knows how to party.  But for reasons unbeknownst to me, when it comes down to it, I'll never love New York the way it deserves. It's overpriced, it can get really smelly for no reason, and the streets every weekend tend to look like Bourbon Street the day after Mardi Gras.  Ironically though, many of the people I love the most in the world are New Yorkers, or hale from the tri-state area, and because of this I make what seems to be a monthly pilgrimage to the city that never sleeps.  And I have to say, after 8 years - it's growing on me.

Despite my reluctance to consider New York on my top ten list of cities, I do respect New York and it's people.  New Yorkers have an unprecedented commitment to taxing cigarettes, fat free fro yo, convenient banking and pharmaceuticals (you can't scream "How YOU doin'" without it echoing off of a Duane Reade).  But in relation to this blog in particular, the city has an unbelievable commitment to NATURE.

It's true, New York can be characterized as a sea of cement with sky scrapers that (especially in Winter) seem to block out the sun entirely, but in actuality it houses some of the most beautiful parks that I've ever been to.  And for argument's sake, let's say I've been to a lotta parks.  I feel like there is more greenery in ten city blocks in New York than there is in all of DC.  
Here are some fun facts: 24% of New York is covered in trees and there are 5.2 million trees in New York City.  Apparently those trees catch 890 million gallons of stormwater annually - so high five a tree in NYC for protecting us from Irene last weekend.

So, back to hiking, in an ode to New York greenery, I took a leetle walk to a park that opened in 2009 and recently just opened an expansion this past June - High Line - the Park in the Sky.

There are 9 different access points where people can enter and exit the park

A couple of summers ago, Chelsea, Britt and I biked from the South Street Sea Port up the West Side Highway to this little gem, which at the time was only a few months old.  Chelsea has since moved to Chelsea (hehe) and certain entrances to the park are only a few blocks away from her building.  So you're looking at that picture thinking...stairs? to a park?...I know.  High Line is actually an old train line that has been converted to a little boardwalk type park that stretches from the meatpacking district to 30th street.  I'd say it's about a mile long, maybe a little more.

The old train tracks that run the length of the park

There are places to eat and sit, flowers that have been planted along the stretch of the tracks and even some sculptures and art to gaze at along the way.

The grey and neon color scheme is a designer after my own heart

How cute are these maintenance bikes?

This sculpture is also bird houses

The views from the park are also breathtaking.  There is the Hudson River with the Jersey City skyline and also a view of the New York skyline, which like or dislike of the city as a whole aside, always amazes me.  Washington DC has it's beautiful monuments, but New York's skyline is a tribute to well over a century of innovation and architecture.  And those buildings are situated side by side - an early 20th century walk up right next to some post-modern all glass skyscraper.  I'm honestly surprised I've never been hit by a car in New York because I never tire of walking around looking straight up at the different buildings that tower above.

Innovation in a parking garage - Let's just stack them on top of each other

Not a split screen, these two building coexist right next to each other

Something a little more modern

Painted brick over the DVF store in the Meatpacking District

I think my walk from Chelsea's to the park, then walking around the whole perimeter of the park and back to the apartment was probably about 3 miles.  A perfect little vacation workout.  The next day I walked from 26th and 7th down to the Staten Island Ferry.  Let me tell YOU - that was a looong walk.  It was a great walk too, down 7th to Canal, then to Broadway dead ending at Ground Zero and the new tower they're building there, through the financial district to the waterfront.  I didn't take any pictures though, so there won't be a post about that one.  Also, considering I was going to a music festival to be on my feet all day - I wish I had just cabbed.  

On the ferry to Governor's Island I did snap this of Lady Liberty

In conclusion, I live in DC and I visit New York.  I love love love to just visit New York.  And with upcoming trips already planned for September and October, maybe I'll hike around another park in the city as well.  With special guest stars in this special guest city.

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